What better way is there to begin 2017 than with fresh energy and a strong vision for the present that leads to an even brighter future? One way to accomplish this with your family is to spend some time together making up a family mission statement or manifesto. This living, breathing document is most effective when it is created collaboratively as a family and adjusted as time goes on to make it relevant as your family grows and develops together. Here are some tips for getting started!
For generations, babies were thought of as adorable, moldable lumps of clay that were there to be cared for and loved until they were old enough to be useful or interesting. Without language to tell us what they think or feel about the world around them, it can still be easy to disregard the amazing development that infants are undertaking in the first year of life.
I can think of no better time of year to revisit the concept of “good enough” parenting! With summer upon us, I am struck again by the disconnect between the kind of parent I wish I were and the kind that I actually am. My mythical ideal parent has her kids with her all day the whole summer enjoying inventive and educational opportunities as we bask in each other’s company without the distractions of technology or sweet treats (in this version, my kids don’t even ask for these things because they are outside playing in the woods and reading fortifying literature). In reality, I am the kind of mom who adores her children and needs a break from them. I love having summer time adventures together and I love for them to have their own independent adventures and for me to have mine as well.
Back in 2005, author Ayelet Waldman proclaimed boldly that she loved her husband more than she loved her children in a New York Times article. This announcement seemed to strike a nerve, with quick reactions in the media that she must be an unfit mother and shouldn’t have had children to begin with. Waldman remained undeterred, however, and stated that the best foundation she could give her children was a strong partnership with their father. Whether you share Ms. Waldman’s feelings or not, she can be applauded for beginning a conversation and for shaking up our expectations of what kind of partnerships best serve both parents and children.
We approached the edge of the Grand Canyon slowly, eyes looking down at our feet and the ground immediately in front of us. When we got to the solid metal fence, we looked up and at once the grandeur and immensity of the canyon affected us. “Oh, my,” my six-year-old daughter called out. I glanced over at my nine-year-old son to see his mouth opened wide in wonder. My eyes filled with tears, not only at the beauty I was witnessing but at the real gift of sharing this moment with my children. This, I thought, is the reason we travel as a family. We are taken out of our everyday routine and get to have new experiences with those we love most in the world.
An Ideal Parent?
A model of an ideal parent has developed in many of our minds that is based on extreme self-sacrifice and self-denial. This mother or father consistently buries his or her own needs in order to satisfy those of his or her children. This parent smiles cheerfully while anticipating every need her child expresses, while letting her own joy and pleasure in life go unexplored. I’m not sure where this model came from, but I think it’s time for each of us to ensure that we are not buying into it